February 1, 2022
In this episode of the CrossLead podcast, host David Silverman speaks with Vivian Greentree, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Corporate Citizenship at Fiserv.
CrossLead
CrossLead
Diversity, equity and inclusion with Vivian Greentree
/

Show Notes

Diversity, equity and inclusion with Vivian Greentree

In this episode of the CrossLead podcast, host David Silverman speaks with Vivian Greentree. Vivian is the Senior Vice President of the Head of Global Corporate Citizenship at Fiserv.

Resources

Dave

Welcome to the CrossLead Podcast. I’m your host, Dave Silverman. At CrossLead we exist to help teams, individuals achieve and sustain optimum performance. In today’s episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Vivian Greentree. Vivian is a senior vice president at Fiserv, where she’s the head of global corporate citizenship, as well as the Care Foundation.

Prior role at Fiserv Vivian had the same role at first data, and prior to that, she was a co-founder and ran research and policy for Blue Star families. Blue Star Families is a phenomenal nonprofit that strengthens military families and connects America to the military.

Vivian has a Ph.D. in public administration and urban policy. She’s a passionate Navy veteran where she served for eight years as a supply chain officer, and she is also a proud military spouse and mother and her nearly two decades of leadership experience across public, nonprofit and private sectors.

She has been a constant champion of community and employee engagement. Vivian was one of the first leaders that I met who had the passion, skill and mandate to operationalize DNI initiatives at scale inside of a large organization. Her ability to connect these efforts to business value was the inspiration to have her on today’s podcast.

In our conversation, we discussed diversity, inclusion, future of work, gender pay gaps, how you measure the effectiveness of such initiatives, and so much more. Thank you for tuning in. I hope you enjoy the conversation with my guest and friend Vivian Greentree.

 

Welcome to the CrossLead podcast. I’m your host, Dave Silverman at CrossLead. We exist to help teams, individuals achieve and sustain optimum performance. So I’m super honored to have Vivian as our guest today. She comes to us with a massive amount of amazing experience.

Vivian, welcome to the show. I’d love for you to spend a little bit of time educating the audience here on yourself. You know, give us a little background who you are, where you’re from, what sort of shaped and made and informs the way you think about leadership going forward.

Vivian

Sure. And I think I’m a big believer that kind of hard work and luck. Hard work increases your surface area for luck. And because I do feel very lucky to be where I am doing what I do now for a living, but I also know that a lot of that, even if it was hard work, but also it was a lot of luck. It was a lot of other people helping me. And so I think that definitely informs my view of, of leadership.

And teamwork, and I feel a level of responsibility commiserate with how much I do think I’ve been given or how much people have helped me to get where I am based on that. And so my position right now is I’m the head of global corporate citizenship at Pfizer, which is one of the world’s largest fintechs. And we’d like to think one of the best in my position with global corporate citizenship really looks at how we align or create a culture around diversity and inclusion, associate and community engagement, philanthropy, sustainability because we know that those areas of diversity and inclusion, associate and community engagement, philanthropy, you know where we invest time treasure talent, whether it’s for business or community, when those areas are coordinated and aligned, that’s really where you create high performing teams where everyone can say I am a valued member of a winning team doing meaningful work in an environment of trust. And that’s a good place to be right now because we need we need trust more than anything to to sustain high performing teams through. The unprecedented times, hopefully back to precedented times.

Dave

Yeah, we do. We absolutely do. So where did you grow up originally?

Vivian

So as a Georgia fan, Georgia. And went to The University of Georgia. On the Hope Scholarship, which again, I think, you know, just thinking of early things that that informed my my outlook. You know, the Hope Scholarship was created to allow students who couldn’t have afforded it otherwise to attend state preeminent state schools in the in the state of Georgia.

Dave

So I don’t think I knew about the Hope scholarship. So is that for every every resident of Florida, that that’s qualifies academically for the school, they are eligible too.

Vivian

Eligible, right? So the state of Georgia pays the tuition for qualifying students to any state university, which really, you know, when you think of meritocracy, expanded the opportunity for people like me to go to Tier one research institutions like the University of Georgia, which I think is right and which I think it just continues on because I knew that I was going to school based on taxpayer money. The same, you know, being in the Navy you know, being paid by taxpayers, you want to really earn that. And then when you have a good experience somewhere or you know to whom much is given, much is expected, you want to turn around and do that for others.

Dave

What did you major in at Georgia?

Vivian

Oh gosh, that was so long ago political science and journalism.

Dave

OK, and then and then you joined the Navy after after college that we did or.

Vivian

I did, ironically, to get out of the state of Georgia.

Dave

I’m Georgia to my core, but I want a little break.

Vivian

I I really it was like Dorothy after the Navy took us around for 20 years. There is no place I wanted to be more. But then then the back in Georgia.

Dave

So you joined the Navy. What year to join the Navy?

Vivian

So right after I graduated 2000, 2001.

Dave

To right before 9:11?

Vivian

Yes, I’m a pre pre-nine eleven.

Dave

Wow, OK. And what did you do in the Navy Supply Corps?

Vivian

And so I saw the supply for school, funnily enough, was actually in Athens at the time, though I didn’t know it. That’s not why I chose this course, but my husband was aviation and Pensacola. And now both of those schools are up in Rhode Island. I think so. I served on active dDuty in and in the reserves and the supply corps. Mike, my husband, was aviation. He did his his 20 years. So I was lucky when I transitioned out that, you know, I had things like my health care was, had continuity. I had a my spouse was still earning a paycheck. I use my G.I. bill to go back to school for public administration and really focused on that. That public service aspect, why? Why people want to go into public service in the first place, how we can increase the antecedents towards that and then support them when they do.

Dave

And you got a Ph.D., is that right?

Vivian

I did, like many transitioning service members, use my G.I. bill but also at like military spouses. When you’re moving around, you have small kids, your your spouse is constantly deployed. It’s hard to find. It’s hard to go to. Employers and really sell that. So I put my eggs in the basket of if I can show that I have. This forward trajectory that I have been doing continuous learning. And then started. I did help to found blue star families during that time. But really it was around, you know, several military spouses getting together with these backgrounds in policy or research to say, if we can present a cohesive view of the impact of service on military families to political leaders, military leaders, we can make the all-volunteer force sustainable because we’re supporting the families who choose to serve.

Dave

You got out of the Navy in what year in 2013 or something in 2014.

Vivian

So I I got off active duty around two, I think 2005 and then did the reserves well, because at the same time, Mike, my husband, was taking different orders and so we moved around.

Dave

OK, sorry. So you got out in 2005. When did you start your Ph.D. program? 2007 2007. OK, and you were doing that while moving around?

Vivian

Well, by then we had. We had moved back to Norfolk. So Old Dominion University is where I received my Ph.D. They actually at the time were sixth in the nation for students utilizing their G.I. bill, which isn’t surprising. I think given that Norfolk’s the largest naval base in the world is right right there, but they had a part time program which I think, you know, just force for service members that are using their GI Bill or military spouses using the transferability of the GI Bill. Universities that do have that flexibility in, they’re recognizing that more and more students are nontraditional are the ones that are going to attract that you know, that talent?

Dave

Awesome. And then how long it takes to get your see, I know for a lot of people, it takes a long time.

Vivian

It seems like that, right? It’s an endless. But I think it took me about five years for the coursework and for my dissertation. So when I was pursuing my Ph.D., it was the same time. Around 2007 2008 when military families were really being impacted by the post-9-11.

Dave

Yeah, by then it’s real, right? I mean, it’s go through multiple cycles, right?

Vivian

And so it was. Really it was impacting military families, the likes of which had never been seen before. At the same time, there was little research, little data to actually back up. If you went to your congressmen or you went to your military leadership to talk about the workouts, the deployment cycles, the time between deployments, the impact on military kids, things like that. So I was able to structure my research within my Ph.D. program to align with the founding BlueStar Families, which is the country’s largest nonprofit designed to support, you know, connect and empower military families. And so my kind of piece of the puzzle was to create a national survey of military families that went through kind of the wellness, military, spouse, employment, mental health, military children and the impacts of service so that we could create a global. Network of military families, regardless of branch or rank or active or reserve components, so that in totality there was recognition that there is an impact to service on the service member and our families past the immediate deployment cycles. Sure.

Dave

That’s amazing. So Blue Star families, you started, you know what year was that.

Vivian

Right? And we, you know, it was again right when President Obama was elected and really made military families. You know, our research was a precursor to their joining forces.

Dave

Forces.

Vivian

Emphasis on wellness and and employment.

Dave

Yeah. And it still endures today, right? Blue Star families are still endures.

Vivian

It does. And so it is joining forces under the Biden administration.

Dave

Did it take a sabbatical during the Trump administration? Probably not, right. But a lot of certainly Blue Star families did. So that’s good. Awesome. That’s that’s amazing. Thank you for that. By the way, I know I know a lot of people that have been very positively impacted by some of the work that you that you helped start and found back in 2009. And that’s a remarkable service and the country owes you debt for that. So then after blue star families, because you were kind of running that I first met you, I think you were just being hired by by first data right at the time. Is that right?

Vivian

Right, right?

Dave

I can’t remember.

Vivian

No, it was because we which is which was funny, because you said, you know, talk about a little bit when you grew up know, I always thought, you know to me, was Southeastern Conference. Now it’s the Securities Exchange Commission.

Dave

Yeah, it’s a it’s a governing body that regulates our banks.

Vivian

And they’re both governing bodies.

Dave

Conference of Presidents, football and basketball and swimming and soccer and everything else. Yeah.

Vivian

Right. So it shows, you know, kind of perspective. Where are you, where you come from it and then just even your own bias, you know, since I know we’re talking about. Diversity and inclusion today, we all have. These unconscious biases. You know, mine was the first time. I heard when I was at a New York meeting, I thought, Why do they care about.

Dave

Georgia football?

Vivian

And I thought, Wow, we really are right. And I thought, Why do they care so much? I mean, I think. Are important, but I don’t know that that has have.

Dave

The stereo. Gone? Yeah, awesome. OK, so so what year was that? I try to remind me when.

Vivian

It was 20. So 2014, which you know, at the time, a lot of companies based on the impacts and recognition of just huge amounts of service members that were transitioning out. We’re looking to start military programs but had never really before, you know, thought or looked at that community as anything, really. Maybe then other than if they had a guard or reservists who had activated and how to calculate that leave or turn out turn or pay on or off, but really hadn’t considered that that talent pool. And then. You know, as we built that program, it really taught us how to relook. At human capital management because, you know, when you’re recruiting, when you want to show up holistically in the military community to recruit transitioning.

Vivian

Service members and their spouses, you have to have done. That’s kind of like the tip of the iceberg. You have to be military ready to to show up in a way that’s authentic and really can speak to you. Why would a service member or veteran pick your company over other companies, you know, based on the benefits, policies, culture of your company?

Dave

Yeah, that’s amazing. So you first data was really at the time leading, in my opinion, the P.A.C. on progressive ideas and around, you know, some of these these these different diversity groups and veterans, obviously, having been of that and going to New York and seeing some of the work that you guys are doing, I was always really impressed. You guys sort of seemed at the forefront of a veteran friendly organization that saw the value reach maybe talk about, you know, I feel like a lot of people do it because it feels it feels right, right?

Dave

It feels like morally and patriotic. We just decided we’re right. But I think what amazed me about what I saw the work that you guys were doing for and now five serve is that you really saw it as like a differentiator in how you approach business. And I thought that to me, that makes it more enduring love for you to talk a bit about that.

Vivian

Well, I mean, even you know how quickly we met when I came to first, first data and we reached out to CrossLead to be our leadership development partner. It just shows how integrated the thinking is and really wanting, you know, our C.E.O. Frank Bisignani, wanted look to the military.

Vivian

For leadership. You know, the benefits of the lessons learned from the military community in a way that, like you said, many other companies want to. Get involved. They want to do the right thing, but they don’t really see it at the very basis as a value add. And I think that’s the that’s the difference because, you know, just expanding on that view. When we started recruiting veterans. And military spouses, we brought in more women, more minorities. And then it’s not just about what is your guard and reserve leave policy, but it’s what your family forming benefits policies. Where is your representation? Do you have employee resource groups that allow them outlets for expression and kind of aligning their purpose with your profit? Because we do know that diversity is a fact, but that inclusion piece is the choice and that. If the systems that a company. Has are set up that create obstacles or challenges for anyone to show up kind of at work desk ready discretionary effort at the ready, then that’s on that’s on the company. And we know that talent is just distributed equally. But what’s not is that opportunity, access and exposure. And again. If it’s the systems that are set up that are reducing your. Space in place in the. In the mind view of the generations that are coming out of school or coming out of the military.They just won’t see you because they don’t see themselves represented in your leadership or in your products or in your services or, you know, and your in your community investments.

Dave

So, so yeah, that’s that’s it feels exactly right to me. Can you talk about how you guys have sort of, you know, mobilize these groups to drive your purpose and ultimately, you know, value for the firm? My assumption is to address the issue you just talked about, which is like, how do you get people showing up every day, get being their best selves, right? So you’re unlocking that latent potential that exists across the workforce? I think that’s phenomenal. You’re talking about how you guys structure and think about it and incorporate it into into to Pfizer’s operating model.

Vivian

Yeah, I mean, I love that you. Operating model, because it really D.N.I. has to be in the D.N.A. of the organization, and as much as we talk about diversity of thought and experience. You really can’t have diversity of thought and experience until you have physical representation of diversity at the table. And when you’re operating and governance structures, those are essential when you’re thinking about how you set up your systems for recruiting internal mobility leadership, inclusive leadership models, even product development and innovation. And that’s where those employee resource groups come in. They’re not the only lever, but I would say arguably one of the most. Vital, because again. It’s it’s your human capital management, it’s your talent. It’s allowing them and creating space for them to have opportunities for meaningful engagement in a way that meets them where they’re at. And if you channel and target that towards. Whatever that thing is. That your company or organization’s mission is like for us, small businesses is what we do every day. You know, start scale, grow from Main Street to Wall Street, and our employee resource groups are right, and they’re coming up with ideas for how to engage small, diverse businesses, how to support small, diverse businesses or social innovators within large businesses. How can we help our large scale enterprise clients support small, diverse businesses, whether it’s through their supply chain or whether it’s through their products or services? And that’s really it’s. That, you know, the systems view.

Dave

Yeah, no, I think I think that’s that makes a ton of sense. So as we think about, you know, just some of the questions that typically come to mind around that diversity inclusion topic, a lot of companies are putting a lot of effort into how they recruit, specifically trying to create a more diverse workforce. Everything from that senior executives like you were talking about earlier down to, you know, entry level talent. But they they’re struggling. And it’s it’s not just to find those people, but it’s also to retain them once they get them because it’s become a very competitive love for you to talk about about that. Why does that happen? Why is it so hard?

Vivian

I mean, that’s like the. Crux I think of where we are, because in the past companies have said they’re military friendly. But are they military ready? And I would I would evolve that conversation now to say companies want to be diversity friendly. But are they. Really diversity ready and addressing.

Dave

What do you mean by by ready?

Vivian

Right. So in the same way, when you show up, it’s I’m showing up at a, let’s say, a women in tech recruiting event. Is it all males that are with me? Do I know the open positions? Do I know our family forming policies? Do I know our benefits? Do I know if we have pay equity or we’ve had a pay equity review in the past three years? It’s because that’s what women graduating from colleges with their coming out of the military with choosing between companies. That’s what they’re going to be asking for because they’re it’s, you know, it’s a hot labor market right now. And to differentiate yourself when you show up in an organ in. The same way that we expect potential hires to come. With a general knowledge about our company when we show up in our recruiting, we need people, you know, our recruiters to have a general working knowledge. About. Diversity and inclusion and what our culture is, what our our employee resource groups, what community partners do we invest in? What have we done? What’s our representation on the board? And I’ll tell you too. That comes up not just with talent, but with clients and several, you know. Several meetings over the past year that has. Been the crux of the, you know, the questions are have you had a pay equity review? What is your representation on the board? What are what are your sustainability policies and how or how are you responding to social justice? It’s really it goes back to if you’re looking at the recruiting process, the opposite side of that coin is retention, and it’s looking at not just tracking new hires, but engagement, performance, internal mobility, satisfaction and your pipeline. And that’s where, again, the benefits in the culture are huge. Do you have guard and reserve leave policy, paid parental leave, domestic partner coverage, anything that shows your employees that you are investing in who they are as a person outside of work so that they can show up at work as their best self? And it’s. You know, publicly. Facing statements but that are backed up with substance. That’s why so many peer groups or Criterion Nasdaq Stock Exchange Business Roundtable are requiring publicly facing statements that link to documents around human rights or around social justice around your board diversity.

Dave

Yeah, you’re talking about the larger sort of E.S.G. movement. We’re seeing this. Even with access to capital, right, there’s some of these institutional investors and obviously large family offices that are allocating capital to these various funds that then make it available through various instruments are saying, Look, there needs to be an E.S.G. bent here, and if there isn’t, then we don’t want to support or basically have our money be loaned or leveraged for for these organizations. So it’s actually to me having driving a massive sort of movement positively, you know, towards some of these these issues, which which are no longer sort of niche, they’re becoming more mainstream. Can you go back, though, to on the diversity side? I’m running a business, small business or large, but it doesn’t matter, and I take a self on it and I go, OK, my pay, my pay is is equal. Hopefully, if not, I sort of fix that, but I don’t have the numbers I want, right? Like the composition makeup still feels, feels up to me, whatever that whatever right looks like, but it’s not there. OK, where we’re underrepresented and we don’t look like maybe the communities that we operate in the services that people would provide. How do you fix that? How would you advise that that leadership group to really try to address that? Would you do almost like like like a quota system or or how do you think about that?

Vivian

So, you know, it’s a marathon and. A sprint. Because it really for most companies. It’s it’s it’s not an and or but it’s a both or it’s multiple. Because it’s there’s. Lack of representation at the top for sure. And you can’t you can’t hire at L1 and expect in the next 20, 20 years that something is going to be different on the L10 level. And so you really need a you need a strategy for both.

Dave

And then it’s that and right. You’re saying you’re saying yes, let’s make sure our hiring practices at the entry level are obviously unfair. But there’s but that we’ve got to do something to address the mid and senior levels at simultaneously.

Vivian

Right. And that’s where it’s, you know, it’s percent of new hires, but it is percent of retention. And it’s also it’s it’s comparing. Groups and having enough representation that you can compare between groups to say, you know, is there something significant, you know, statistically significantly different in the way that women are voluntarily attracting from the from the labor force? Because we know that right, that that did happen over COVID. So within a particular company, you can look at that and say voluntary versus involuntary attrition to.

Dave

Give some of those stats. I don’t know that anybody’s aware of that. I mean, when I heard this stat a while ago, I was actually pretty surprised. It made sense once I thought about it. But like initially I was like, well covered. If anything is helped drive adoption around like things around work flexibility that previously were sort of we’re sort of relatively small time or niche like, you know, now I think it’s much more widely accepted that, you know, you don’t have to physically be in a space from a certain amount of time like that. We’ve got we’ve demonstrated the ability to be productive still and in a more flexible environment. Flexibility should lead to more inclusive work. Opportunities should, should do.

Vivian

And yeah, because there you know, there’s a lot of there’s several, I think themes that that did emerge. You know, going through COVID one was that more women are traded from the from the labor force. So even though we were learning lessons during that time and even now on. Just the effects of, you know, your life external to your job, affecting your ability to show up, whether it’s in the office physically or virtually in your in your home, but that it did disproportionately affect women. But even, you know, we serve small businesses and we had. Numbers coming out of COVID that. Survive COVID for another variety of reasons. one Just all small businesses were affected the ability to go. Go out physically, but they also were less likely to be able to access capital through traditional means or even the P.P.P. loans that were designed to. Help small businesses. But they didn’t have accounts large enough with large enough banks to take advantage of it or couldn’t. Dedicate. The full time person towards filling out all the paperwork. And so there were these themes where, you know, we all go through the Same life events, but they are affecting as an impacting us in different ways based on, you know, our individual circumstances. And if there’s enough of a population that is marginalized or unrepresented that is not able to, then, you know, experience and come out at the same pace and we have systems set up that are promulgating that, that that is kind of the the crux of where we are right now. So we don’t want to lose women from the labor force. We don’t want to lose small minority owned businesses and if you have your time treasure. Talent of what your company does can is at this inflection point can make a difference because of your benefits, because of your policies, because of. Even a focus on. Mental health, which again, you know, I think the military drove that way earlier based on, you know, combat experience. But now. I’ve heard mental health and wellness mentioned more times over the past year than I have in the past ten years.

Dave

I know it’s a it’s really everybody now, right? I mean, everybody, everybody’s going through. I mean, this has been this has been emotionally draining COVID for sure. And so I think people are much more acutely aware of the impacts of Saddam. Go back to the women, if you would, because I mean, I think this is this is concerning. I feel like to the extent that we’ve made progress on these fronts, it feels like Kobe was a massive setback on gender equality and representation in the workforce. If what you’re saying is that disproportionately the people that left their jobs were where were or female? And is it getting better now or how do we address that? I mean, how do we how do we make up for that?

Dave

Because to me, that’s I mean one. That’s awful. I’ve seen some stats that says, Hey, the effects of this downstream are going to are significant, like ten or 15 years from now. It’s going to be even worse, like the fact that we had this major setback.

Dave

I’m curious to see your thoughts on what you’re seeing people do and try to to counterbalance that. Knowing that Pfizer particularly mission is to help small businesses thrive and address some of these. These these challenges. I’m curious to see you know how you’re thinking about this?

Vivian

Well, I mean, we know so the gender gap existed pre-COVID. Any you know, anything else equally did did nothing but kind of enlarge that gap.

Dave

So one thing that got made it worse.

Vivian

It may, right? It made it worse. And you’re right, there’s like that. It’s a lagging indicator and it will take years to to catch up to it. But then I also at the same time have great hope because of COVID did make as I think, more vulnerable. We were certainly, you know, we’re in each other’s homes in ways that we had never been before or hurt people’s dog bark or their children come in. Some people didn’t even know or. Acted like people didn’t have children before COVID, and. The reality is that that impacts our ability to show up. And so just recognition that people are whole beings, they want to pursue purpose and profit and. Don’t necessarily see it with millennials. And younger generations. Don’t even really see a delineation between that. They actually think that they actually think. But I mean, they think that they. Should be able to pursue purpose within their profit seeking job. So you see these because coming up, I certainly think CrossLead is one of those where you’re providing value more than. You know, leadership training. It’s also opening. The door to. Discuss things like, you know, how integrity and and shared consciousness and trust, you know, so that you can have psychological safety on teams, which again, the military has done for years because you know that that does show up. In your every day. It does show up in how you, you treat your team members. But I don’t think that the corporate sector had that recognition. And certainly that. Benefits everyone, right? Whether you are a parent or a caregiver. For for your for your parent, you know that sandwich generation that is caregiving children, but also their own parents and. And that again, you know, it shows up in in your productivity and your satisfaction and your engagement. And ultimately, whether you choose to stay to work at a company that helps you be the best you Lacob.

Dave

It’s been been really hard on a lot of a lot of businesses. I know it’s disproportionately affected small businesses and and from the employee standpoint, it’s disproportionately affected, affected women. Could you could you maybe talk about what you’re seeing, both working at a large global, you know, 500 company as well as the small business you serve and how executive group should think about tackling this near-term problem and solving the more the more systemic problem of of diverse and inclusive workforces?

Vivian

Yeah, because there are thematically lots of lots of trends. That are emerging. Some, you know, like you mentioned, negatively disproportionately affecting certain populations. But I want to also put a pen and I do think that’s an every challenge is an opportunity. But first, looking at the negative or populations that have been disproportionately affected by COVID, I think the Bureau of Labor Statistics just put out that there were 2.2 million less women in the labor force in October of 2020 than there were of 2019. Which which definitely tracks. Within themes within the Great Exodus. The disproportionate effect of women. Probably for things that Have always been there around caregiving for children, but also parents or just the, you know, the second shift that’s talked. About about additional work at home. And we know that COVID as you mentioned the effects on small business that it also disproportionately affect minority owned businesses. So while everyone experienced the same inability to have in-person physical gatherings or shop in person, some of the some of the small businesses that were least able to react as quickly because they didn’t have larger lines of credit or didn’t have online or e-commerce options, which we happened to know about because those are our clients. So when we started to see the numbers and heard that up to 40% of minority owned businesses might not make it through COVID. In addition to the client services that we already had, that’s when we. Actually came up with our back to business grant to be the inflection point to connect those small, diverse businesses with access to capital lines of credit e commerce order delivery to pick up setting up online shopping carts, anything that we could do to to be there. And that’s where when I said there is a positive coming out of COVID, I do think that there is an opportunity for companies to look at work life balance. So if you’re looking at your employee base, looking at work life balance, understanding that people do have lives outside of work that do affect their ability to show up at their best. And then design operating. Models that are more inclusive and holistic so that you can unlock. The whole idea is that high performing teams, right whenever you draw the line of why does any of this matter at the very base? It’s to make money to sustain your business operations. But to do that, you really have to take a long term view of not just output, but outcome.

Vivian

When you talk about succession planning, recruiting market share, investor relations, all of that really depends on your employer value proposition. And so I’m hoping that we come out of COVID as a culture, but also globally. Where we’re more progressive thinking creative about how we create opportunities for people to meaningfully engage while pursuing. Both purpose and profit. And I think that that’s exciting there. There’s a huge upside there with know unlocking productivity. You know, there’s a lot of. Money to be made there. If we do it right. But there’s also some very significant problems short term that we have to deal with because companies are losing people every day.

Dave

You know, I just find it fascinating. This is obviously something that we obsess over at cross. I mean, our whole goal is is to make organizations more effective, you know, help them sort of unlock latent potential. And the exciting thing about about COVID. The upside is executive teams are able to reimagine the way they work. They’ve had to just to survive. And so they’ve built muscles that they didn’t previously have. They discovered technology and tools that they previously were weren’t leveraging, and those tools themselves have gotten significantly more effective. So I’m optimistic that, you know, the executive teams that are meeting in the boardroom as they try and discuss how they’re going to to establish an operating model that continues to drive value is now much greater than it was even even two years ago. And so my hope, my hope in all this is that with those added tools, with those added that capabilities, it’s going to create a more flexible and inclusive work environment which potentially could start to take on those more systemic historical issues of of misrepresentation by gender or disenfranchize minority populations in the workforce. Because flexibility should be should be a key tool in helping, helping keep some of those groups engaged for longer periods of time and continuing at the ladder, which I think will net just benefit our society and our individual companies tremendously. an you? Let’s switch now to how you basically assess an organization’s effectiveness when it comes or die programs. I mean, if we take the actual the composition aside, how else what other metrics do you use to look at D.N.I. programs and see if they’re actually working or not?

Vivian

You know, there’s a lot of different. KPIs, and we’ve hit on some of them. And certainly representation is is a is a base. But there’s also. It shows up in your products, it shows up in your tracking, it shows up. You know, not just tracking.

Vivian

Though, for employees, but suppliers and vendors, clients, community investment partners. It shows up in publicly facing statements. You know, going through just doing a catalog of of a company’s website is their diversity and their marketing materials. What conferences are they showing up at and who’s speaking at the conferences that they’re showing up at? And then you mentioned definitely. On the investor side, what indices are they showing up on? Because it definitely you can draw a direct. Line for financial impact or you. Can have the one or two kind of removed because engaged employees are more productive employees, they delight clients and then you have client retention and maybe client gain. That’s market share increase of market share, which then increases and delights your shareholders and so there is this virtuous cycle. That that is created between that return on investment, that return on inclusion for employee engagement, client engagement, which makes more money so that you can pay your associates and increase your share price. And so I think those areas, it’s everything in between. It’s it’s your it’s your leadership programs. I too am excited about some things that are coming out of COVID one because leadership. Trainings and leadership courses like, you know, in an organization. Like Crossley, you’re focusing on inherently an inclusive leadership model, and I don’t think we’ve always talked about inclusive leadership, more leadership. And it’s it’s really baked into the, you know, to have empowered execution to have shared consciousness and trust. There’s those things you have to attain first, and one of them is is diversity. And then to me, you’re inclusive leadership model is what drives the inclusivity where everyone feels like they have an equitable chance to join, belong, contribute and progress. And we need that now more than ever, because people are feeling dissociative with what they do for a living versus how they exist outside of what they do for a living. And they do need to build trust through geographic spacing because we’re not physically together. We do need to address and talk about mental health and wellness and keeping ourselves and our bodies functioning so that we we can show up at work. And I think.

Dave

You’re looking at performance more holistically, which, you know, it’s something in special operations we’ve done for a long time and we still got a long way to go. But the idea that like how you physically show up and mentally show up has a massive impact in those mission critical situations.

Vivian

Right? And not every leadership program really talks about that. And I know, you know CrossLead does, and that’s something that, again, the corporate sector can. Benefit from learning from the military on that.

Dave

What’s interesting for me personally in this journey is, you know, in the military, probably it’s because I was overseas so much. I was sort of desensitized to some of these, like larger social movements that were going on. I mean, it’s just take, for instance, like social media, like, I wasn’t allowed that U.S. access to social media when I was in the Philippines, right? So like, I come back and everybody’s on Facebook and Twitter and and like LinkedIn and all these applications, I’m like, Yeah, I would never put any stuff on that stuff, just given what I was doing and where I was operating. In fact, I was always being monitored by good guys and bad guys. I just didn’t. I just didn’t do it right. And so I was always desensitized to these themes. And then, you’re right, when we got into the foundations of how you create high-performing teams and things like shared consciousness and trust and common purpose and empowerment. You know, they and then how we think about operationalize it became obvious to me that like we had a massive premium on things like inclusive work environments. The fact that we have after action reviews, after every op where everybody, regardless of rank, title background, whatever is obligated to give people their honest perspective. What happened on that op so we could figure out to learn and then move forward. And we, you know, and then like, there’s fancy words like psychological safety that says this is what’s happening there. I don’t know what that stuff for me, it was just, that’s how you operate, because that’s what high-performing teams did. Right. That’s how that’s how you behave. And so it’s been interesting to see like, you know, D.N.I. is a social movement. I think a lot of times where leaders struggle to figure out like where it fits into their into their business models, they go, Wow, this feels like something I’m being forced to do because it’s larger social movement that I may or may not be be, you know, sort of attuned to. And for me, the way we came out, it was like, No, if you’re if you come back from something or you’re about to go on something, you want to make sure you’ve got all the best possible information perspective possible. Because if you don’t and something goes wrong, then how do you how do you, you know, how do you reconcile that? How do you rationalize that? How do you explain it? Some kids, mother or father, why their son or daughter is at home? Because, you know, we didn’t do our part and making sure we had the best possible plan that had the best collective of experiences sort of sort of yielded. So to me, I think just rethinking that in terms of that, I think goes a long way in saying, Hey, you know, wherever you fall in the social spectrum like discount for a second. This has real value to your to your business and it’s upside, and you should probably do it for all of social reasons. But like the value, you have a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders who do not like you find a way to to make that happen. So if you think about like the leverage that that you guys currently pull in Pfizer specifically to around your E.S.G. programs to basically sort of address some of these changes, what are those? Maybe talk about some of the unique levers that you’ve seen that are, like, you know, pretty effective both for measuring it and sort of driving, you know, improvements around around those areas.

Vivian

Right? I mean, the KPIs, just. Like like any other parlor or any other operating model, it has to be integrated into and baked in to the very performance. And I think so one, having a culture of continuous learning. And really focus on leadership because when times, you know, progress. Does move at the speed of trust to everything you just said and you really can’t build trust. And in these inflection. Points of confusion and ambiguity and challenge, that’s when you rely on the trust so that it kind of greases the skids for, you know, when people don’t know what’s going to happen, but they trust that your company, your manager, your team has your best interest and has the best interests of the company and you’re kind of commiserate. With the level of service that you’re giving that you’re getting that back and so you see that show up. And I always said before, you know, the levers are within every single aspect of the organization and you can look at it as clients and external learning and development, certainly talent management. And that hits on a lot of that retention piece and an employee resource groups, internal mobility, professional development, your vendors and supplier diversity. There’s a reason again, why we met so early because we want it to benefit from the lessons learned from the military community when we were building our own leadership and talent development program and then ensure community engagement. Your strategic philanthropy.

What are you doing volunteering your time, treasure and talent? And it’s always best when those are aligned because it’s the first best use of whatever the company or organization’s purposes. Don’t divorce that from the profit or the ability to have meaningful engagements for four employees and then it’s your those easy things like code of conduct, your total rewards, your benefits packages. And it’s it’s less about. Although I’m, you know, I’m jealous of companies where they can bring dogs to work or they have beer on tap. But I think more substantial investments in pay parity, family forming policy benefits, guard and reserve leave policies. Because what they’re really saying. When you invest in those high value things is that you’re saying that I’m not as an employer forcing you to choose between serving your country and coming to work. I’m not forcing you that.

Dave

You’re saying, you’re saying we say guard and reserve. You mean National Guard.

Vivian

National Guard and Reserve Military Service.

Dave

The policies are the company let you go and you keep your job and that you can go serve your country and then you.

Vivian

And pay them. And of course, I have to say, because I serve as one of I always like to say the most expansive, I would love for a company to come back. And say, actually, our policy. Is more expansive. You know, we pay full, full salary. That’s amazing. For a while there, while our guard and reservists are on their orders. And so again, it’s saying that we’re not making you choose between serving your country and working here. But it’s the same with starting families. And there’s many ways to start a family and there. And it could be, you know, either parent or caregiver could stay home or so it’s a it’s just a more, if, like you said, progressive, expansive way to look at.

Dave

I love that. Yeah. And how we can expand that. Like if military is not your thing, you can expand that into any type of community or national service, right where you’re serving and making a difference in the community. And you’re saying this aligns with the values of principle.

Vivian

And then. Well, and I have to make you know, when you said levers or ways to measure, I have to also mention because CrossLead helped us so much with our with our culture building and the way we looked at the pillars of where we time treasure talent. But looking at employee engagement surveys and having questions that have to do and directly ask your employees, do they think they’re treated fairly with respect? Do they think that they have a path to career – professional mobility? Those are very important to ask on those employee engagement because that’s, you know, asking the people of the population that you’re you’re trying to reach. So even if you do have the policies, process governance, whatever it is, but you’re not seeing that reflected. Then there’s still a disconnect there.

Dave

Yeah, no, that makes total sense. So, so last question on this and I have some fun questions for us. So you’re the C.E.O. of a net new global conglomerate that’s a top five, top ten country in the world. What position are you creating on your executive team for to, to basically address these issues holistically? What are you calling it in like? And how would you describe the role and the responsibilities of that executive?

Vivian

You can call me anything,  don’t call me late for dinner is, is how I look at this question because it is such a topical question that comes up. Across regions, across companies, across industries. I think the important thing is to have a seat at the table and the idea that there’s going to be.

Dave

A seat at your table for an executive, there’s there’s going to be executive on your team. That has this as their core mission.

Vivian

Certainly, and it would look across dimensions of, you know, the entire enterprise H.R. product operations, marketing, procurement, strategic sourcing because depending on what industry you’re and or what market, you might be driven more by sustainability or environment, like with the energy, with energy companies or gas. Whereas in financial services, financial inclusion, financial literacy is, is really what we do best. And so we know that part of diversity of inclusion is ensuring that everyone has equitable access to financial literacy. And so whether it’s and it could be driven out of our D.N.I., it for for talent acquisition or it could be driven out of marketing as a brand or philanthropy, a foundation for social innovation or social impact. The important thing to me is that there is that seat at the table and someone looking strategically across the enterprise looking at how to have impact past economic outcomes and you know. Larry, Fink if you think, you know, that’s kind of a bright-eyed way of looking at it. Larry Fink and issues that letter every every year for BlackRock and and has led the charge at saying there is economic impact, past immediate outcomes and that companies when you’re talking about sustainability, whether it’s environmental or workforce sustainability, you have to include this triple bottom line valuation to a company. And again, that’s where it’s coming from. Investors, it’s coming to be included in the stock exchange or Nasdaq, or to be listed on the S&P different indices. I think more and more these these multinational. Companies that we’re coming up with top five. They are creating a seat at the table on their executive management committee for it.

Dave

Yeah, I think that’s right. I mean, ultimately, everybody’s in competition for talent. And increasingly, the talent that’s that’s both, you know, new talent coming into the workforce and or talent that’s decided to make a shift. And what they’re going to focus on and do is increasingly more aware of these issues. And they’re going to see organizations that take this seriously as a differentiation and where they want to go, spend their time, their energy and their efforts. And that’s going to be a massive differentiator. So it’s something that people have to get at. All right. So so I want to wrap this up. So given that I’ve done previous ones, I want to ask, I’ll say two words. They are things are they are people and you have to say you have to pick the name that that is right. So if I said olive oil and butter, which one would you pick.

Vivian

Sunflower seed oil?

Dave

Some fancy? OK, that wasn’t one of the options now. If you’re if you’re if you’re a chef and you got a choice between an olive oil or butter, what are you picking?

Vivian

No, I mean, I sunflower seed oil because I saw it on a tick tock. I mean, I don’t have to choose.

Dave

OK, so you’re going to pick oil then over butter, but you’re just going, not olive oil. You’re kicking. Some of us, OK, got oil. We’re about. OK. Michael Jordan or LeBron James?

Vivian

LeBron James? No, I’m kidding.

Dave

That’s what I said. We’re sticking with the Lebron James.

Vivian

That’s true. That’s from the office because I was going to say Michael. Michael Jordan, because my son is MJ. So everyone assumes. That it’s Michael Jordan. but, it’s Mike Junior. But LeBron James.

Dave

LeBron James, OK, good, Messi or Ronaldo.

Vivian

Is it bad? I’m not even sure who that is. Is that that’s.

Dave

OK, that’s OK. Just it messier another. No, I mean, these are football players, soccer players.

Vivian

Well, I think that tells you my unconscious bias.

Dave

Neither. OK, I did my Louie, Louie Hamilton or Max Verstappen.

Vivian

So this is another hard one, and I know you want one answer. Louis Hamilton, for sure. Except that when I first heard Max Verstappen’s name, I actually thought that. Matthew Stafford, who is a prior University of Georgia bulldog, had taken up Formula one racing and that he was in competition with with Louis Hamilton and. The last that came out of my husband from that. But so I like them both. I love Lewis Hamilton, though he’s going to win.

Dave

The national title on on Monday. Is it going to be Georgia?

Vivian

Alabama Bulldogs hand down, hands down? It’s our year.

Dave

Bulldogs. all right. We’ll hold you to that. Vivian, thank you so much for joining our program. I. This is one that’s a timely conversation, but two, it’s just so critical to how people and leaders need to think about about some of the today’s toughest challenges and how we address them. Can’t thank you enough for coming on board. It means a lot to you. Thank you.

Vivian

Thanks, Dave.

Dave

one more thing before we finish the episode, the CrossLead podcast is produced by the team at Truth Work Media. I want to make this the best leadership podcast available, so I would love to get your feedback. Our goal this season is to have authentic conversations with special operators, business leaders and thought leaders in the topics of leadership and agility. If you have any feedback, suggested topics or leaders that you want to hear from these, email me at contact@crosslead.com. If you found this episode interesting. Please share it with a friend and drop us a rating until next time. Thank you for joining.

Sign up for the CrossLead Newsletter

Crisis in Ukraine

CrossLead panel discussion, about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, sponsored by Red Cell Partners. Dave Silverman facilitates a conversation with former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Roger Ferguson, and former member of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Sipher.

Read More »